I've lived in Van for ~5 years now. Honestly it all depends on how your body copes with the cold, I'm very hot blooded, always warm and can't deal with summers in Brisbane (born and raised) anymore. Some people here, especially immigrants from warm climates dress like Eskimos when it gets < 10 deg I get by with a light jacket or hoody most of the time. I'd say get a good shell jacket with no insulation for the water/wind proofing, and just rock something warm underneath when you're in ON/AB. One thing that got me though were shoes, it rains a hell of a lot here (which is great if it's cold enough and means snow on the mountains) but when you're down in the city soggy shoes and socks suck so get some decent shoes. Outside of summer it pays to carry an umbrella around with you too if its even remotely cloudy (or duck into a dollar store and grab a <$5 one). I've been boarding at Sunpeaks in -27 and I got away with bball shorts + shell pants on my lower and tshirt + long tee + hoody + shell jacket. Was a bit nippy on the lifts but it was totally fine when boarding. Worst I've done was -37 + wind chill in Banff, and to answer someone's question earlier, it doesn't feel much worse than say -20. It just gets dangerous to your health when it's that low, you need to keep your skin and extremities protected otherwise you'll end up with frostnip/frostbite. LCDs no longer work properly at that temperate which I found fascinating, they are super slow and sluggish to change what they are displaying. Cell phones if you're BYO unlocked: Fido, Koodoo (I'm with Fido, piggybacks on Rogers so coverage is great) Banks: Scotiabank, CIBC (https://www.cibc.com/ca/chequing-savings/newcomers.html - have deals for new/temp residents) or you can look at a credit union which generally has no account fees like TD or Tangerine (ING) obv harder if you like to use ATMs etc but I rarely do these days, just goes on the plastic As someone said as a newcomer it'll be hard to get a CC upfront, you'd likely have to pay a deposit to start with for a tiny limit until you build credit score. You should be able to get Visa Debit easily enough though. As far as gear goes, there's a bunch of places that have sample sales etc where you can pick up 10-15k outerwear for ~50-60 a piece as long as you're ok with previous seasons styles/prints etc. Gloves for like $20. That'd be your best bet for cheap snow gear. When I was working in the snow I'd hit this up every winter for new cheap stuff: http://www.ilovesamplesales.com/eventscalendar.html don't think it's listed yet, but it used to be held in North Vancouver.